That said, if you can afford it, you can't get a much better vacation than this. The Europa departs and travels to destinations all over the world. Some of the on-ship events are world renowned and unique, like the Stella Maris Vocal Competition, where up and coming vocalists from around the world compete annually for the actually prestigious Young Talent Development Prize. Some of the amenity programs go beyond what is expected of good service, like the Baby Welcome Package, where the staff provide diapers and baby food of your choosing so you do not need to bring excessive luggage with you. This service is one of many free services included in the price of your ticket. Recently, the Europa has expanded its bilingual program to be more friendly to international passengers, specifically those speaking English. It is worth noting that the program is fairly new, and you may still run into some language barriers if German is not familiar.
The Europa is top-of-the-class in luxury. It has the highest passenger-to-space ratio of any ship in service, there are no inside cabins, all rooms are designated as suites, and only a very few do not have private balconies. It is a dressy ship to be sure, country club casual is expected during the day, cocktail dresses and suits for the evening, with a handful of fully formal nights as well. If you want a wild, inebriated, sea excursion, there are cheaper trips on louder boats. If you want the best money can buy, there is no alternative to the Europa.
All of the cabins on the Europa are luxurious.
There are no cabins jammed on the inside of the ship, rather all cabins have a view to the outside, most have a private balcony. The smallest rooms have 290-square-feet of living space. There are larger suites available: the Penthouse Suites and two Grand Suites. The Spa Suites have the same amount of room as the Deluxe Ocean View suites, but the interiors are upgraded with plush fabrics, soothing colors, and the bathrooms have a larger tub and a spa-like ambiance.
The Outside Suite with Verandah is considered a standard room on the Europa.
A large bedroom, a comfortable living area, a well-proportioned balcony, a walk-in closet, and a suite-sized bathroom occupy 290-square-feet of this cruise ship.
The bedroom is very much its own room in this standard cabin. There is a curtain to draw between the sleeping area and the living area, with space on either side of a king-sized or two twin beds. This room looks more like a hotel room than a cabin on a cruise ship.
On your right there's a tub, on the left a shower, down the center is the head. A large counter, storage shelves and a sink stand adjacent to the shower in this roomy bathroom.
The closets on these standard rooms are what you expect of the most luxurious accommodations on other cruise ships. A whole room unto itself, there are drawers and hanging areas to store everything you have brought. The balcony is also grand, with space enough for two chairs and a fully reclining bed lounger. You will be comfortable here.
There are only ten of these exclusive suites on board.
The bedroom is walled into its own room, separate from the large living and oversized balcony. There are spacious closets jutting off of the entrance hallway, as well as a luxurious bathroom with double sinks. This suite spans across almost 500-square-feet.
Two twin beds are featured in these photos, which can easily be converted into a single king. The bedroom is compartmentalized for privacy and quiet, but with doors on either end and a large window, the room can be as open and sunny as you like. There is a small desk and television here as well, in case you want to curl up and get cozy.
Marble counter tops, his and hers sinks, a full-sized whirlpool tub, as well as a shower stall make this bathroom more than serviceable. You may forget you are on a boat with this much space and opulence.
The living room has its own passageway that goes around the bedroom and leads to the entrance. The space itself is the opposite of claustrophobic, with high ceilings and room to sit with a few friends without feeling like you are on top of each other. The balcony stretches the length of this copious area, allowing four or five people to sit comfortably with a glass of champagne each.
The Grand Suite is the best lodging that the most acclaimed cruise ship in the world has to offer.
If you are royalty, make more money than Midas, or have some kind of special relationship with the owner's of Hapag-Lloyd (might we suggest blackmail?), you may be lucky enough to stay in one of two 915-square-foot super staterooms aboard the Europa. An expansive room with two entrances to the wraparound balcony, a small desk beneath a television, a pair of sitting areas, one with a sofa and coffee table, the other with four chairs around a dinner table, is connected to the self-contained, master bedroom. There is a hallway that joins the large living room and the entrance, off of which sits the cavernous bathroom and a small bar area.
King-sized comfort in every way awaits you in the bedroom of the grand suite. The bed is enormous, but that doesn't stop the room from also having a desk and chair, a walk-in closet, and storage areas.
Of course this bathroom has a bidet. Really, why wouldn't it? There is a huge counter top with a pair of sinks, a large whirlpool tub, and a shower stall for all your grooming needs. This one room is about the size of an entire inside cabin on another cruise ship.
You could hold a conference in the living room of the Grand Suite. Bring the whole main dining room back to this suite for a late night soiree. There are two seating areas, one on either side, you may need a phone to contact your friends at the table if you are on the sofa. There two entrances to the balcony that wraps around the entirety of this suite. You very literally could not see someone relaxing on the same private balcony as you.
The Spa Suites are the same size as the regular suites but are more luxuriously robust.
The bedroom and the living area are connected in this suite. The bathroom is enlarged to make room for a private spa-like experience in your cabin. The entrance hallway has some closet space and connects the two main rooms.
The walls and linens are upgraded to make a more soothing environment in the Spa Suites. The bed is larger than a regular suite, but it is not as divided from the living area. This room is most suitable for a couple on a romantic getaway.
The bathroom is the biggest difference in a Spa Suite. The whirlpool tub is noticeably larger than those in the Standard Suites. There is also a large window that lets light from the balcony willow in for a relaxing, spa-like bath.
The balcony has seating for two or three, with two chairs and a full recliner. The living area is small, but the compact layout makes room for a lush sofa, two chairs and a coffee table.
There are only a few of these sans-balcony rooms on the Europa.
With the same 290-square-foot layout, the Ocean View cabins have a slightly larger curtained-off living area than the Standard Suites. The closets and bathroom stemming off the entrance hallway are about the same.
The bedroom can house a king-sized bed or two twin alternatives, with space around either side. The living room is separated by a drawn curtain and is large enough to relax comfortably after a day of traveling. There is a picture window in the living room that lets light into this cabin.
The bathroom is the same size and offers the same conveniences as the Standard Suite, so for a little less money, you only lose the private balcony.
Pampering is on order in the Suites on the Europa.
Some interesting greetings and itinerary features are available on the television in your cabin. You can chart your journey, look at the available activities and order services directly to your suite. The closets are stocked with a pair of bathrobes and slippers, and the bathrooms have a small set of top-shelf toiletries.
The food is a gourmet delight.
There are only four restaurants on the Europa, but the main dining room and the buffet are so good and variable that you may never make it to the two smaller specialty restaurants, Venezia and Deiter Mueller's Restaurant, though we highly recommend it.
Creations from world famous chef Deiter Mueller are served in several courses every night at this restaurant.
New as of 2010, this small 26-seat restaurant, cheffed personally by world famous Deiter Mueller 70 days of the year, offers gourmet food from various parts of the world. Expect traditional German, Mediterranean, French, and Asian on any given night. There is no extra charge for this restaurant, but spots fill up quickly as the food is worth the endeavor of making a reservation.
Dinner is gourmet all the way at this Deiter Mueller restaurant. The courses, inspirations, and combinations of flavors will keep your palate scintillated for days thereafter.
Small bites in interestingly delicious collaboration will fill your dessert plate at this restaurant. Chocolate, fruit, ice cream and liquors may all be part of one dish, masterfully mixed for maximum satisfaction.
For buffet and casual dining inside or al fresco, passengers head to the Lido Café.
For a more casual, semi-ala-carte, semi-buffet, at times al fresco, or otherwise comfortably sat inside dining experience, the Lido Café is the choice on the Europa. Food is served all day at the Lido, so you can catch breakfast, lunch, and dinner with varying menus of continental and specialty foods.
If you can think of it, they probably serve it for breakfast. Omelets to your liking, an array of cooked and cold meats, fruit aplenty, cold and hot cereals, coffee, hot chocolate and so much more are served early in the morning until lunchtime midday.
With ala-carte options, an extensive and regularly rotating buffet, you will be able to find something scumptiously prepared that will leave your tummy happy with your decisions.
A buffet of pastries awaits! Go! Hurry! There is also a menu from which to order a culinary creation delivered to your seat, but at the buffet, no one will stop you from taking seconds, thirds, fourths....
The Europa Restaurant is the main dining room on the Europa.
The Europa is capable of serving three meals each day to all of the passengers aboard simultaneously. The dining room is nicer than the Lido Café and requires slightly more formal attire. Food is served off of a menu that prides itself in exquisite European cuisine. The Europa is where to go for a more refined meal, with tables for two and more.
Dinner is often compiled and served right at your table by waiters in white gloves. Service is of the utmost importance on the Europa and they focus on this aspect the most at the Europa. A full menu of European continental meats and vegetables will satisfy even the most fastidious foodies.
This restaurant is a more intimate specialty restaurant serving classical Italian food.
With fewer table settings than the Europa, the Venezia restaurant requires a reservation for dinner. With a mock fresco of Venice adorning the back wall, the food aims at traditional, high-end Italian. Like any respectable Italian restaurant, olive oil, balsamic, and parmesan cheese are in little containers at your table at all times.
Keeping with Italian tradition, many small courses, paired with wine, are served throughout the night. Caviar and lobster are just some of the wonderfully chosen items on the menu.
There are two main pools on the Europa and several decks with secluded activities.
There are two pools on the Europa, both found mid-ship. One of the pools is perpetually inside, encased in glass to let as much light in as possible. The other has a retractable roof, convertible from inside to out depending on the weather.
There are several layers of decks, some for observation, some for exercise, some for taking off all your clothes away from the more conservative guests.
There are two sizable pools for a small passenger load on the Europa.
The Forward Pool
The forward pool has a retractable ceiling that can cover half or all of the pool during less than sunny weather. There are a couple of whirlpools on either side of the pool, and a shower to wash before and after the chlorine bath.
The Mid-Ship Pool
The pool in the middle of the Europa is covered and remains that way. It is a smaller pool with a beautiful glass covering that lets all the light in. There are whirlpools to be found here as well.
Many of the decks running around the Europa are narrow, but there are spaces with a grass-like covering to sit and watch the ocean.
The Bellvue Deck
This observation deck has some very comfortable seating. None of that hard plastic stuff you see on most cruise ships, these seats are padded and perfectly reclined.
The FKK Deck
The FKK deck, or the FreiKoeper-Kultur deck, which roughly translates to the "nude" deck on the Europa is a place to iron out all the tan lines on your birthday suit.
The Crew Deck
High atop the Europa, there is a grassy (or grass-like) seating area with picnic tables to catch a glimpse of the rolling waves.
The Lido Deck
The Lido deck is a covered area with shuffleboard that opens into the Lido Café and sits on the same level as the main pool.
The Penthouse Deck
The Penthouse Deck is a secluded area on the Europa. It is one of the higher decks located towards the front of the ship where the ten deluxe Penthouse Suites are found. There are some great sunsets to be seen from this vantage deck.
The Sports Deck
This deck is named not because of the sports courts on the outside, but merely because it runs around the fitness center and adjoining golf simulator at the front of the Europa.
On a small ship, there is quite a lot to do here.
Enrichment programs span across an impressive gamut that would be hard to delineate here. The quality and sheer individuality of events are really impressive. The spa is full service in every way, the gym has great views of the ship and the ocean, and there is a famous golf simulator, the perfect chance to cut that slice out of your swing.
A handful of non-drink, non-food related activities are held in a few lounges with a focus on creativity and art.
The Craft Room and the Art Gallery provide spectacular opportunities for enrichment in the arts, from lectures and hands on classes, to resident artists showing and discussing their work.
The Craft Room
Part of the deeply rooted enrichment program, the Craft Room holds any number of interesting, creative lectures. We’ve heard, and this time we are not kidding, reports of super-ikebana flower arranging being taught by certified sumo wrestlers. Expect the unexpected.
The Art Gallery
The Art Gallery displays contemporary art on a rotating basis. Often, a different artist in residence is handy to discuss his or her works and the creative process, a unique treat to be sure.
The Teen Center
Not quite kids, not quite adults, the teens will have their own area on the Europa. There are a couple of gaming stations, table sports like foosball, and planned activities hosted by the staff.
The Ocean Spa has the full package of treatments, with a design lean towards Eastern Asia.
An Oriental interior theme runs through the Ocean Spa where you can pamper your body in every reasonable way imaginable. Specialists utilizing both Western and Eastern techniques will work you over and make you feel like a new person. There are also skin treatments available in some of the rooms.
There are some masterful stylists on board ready to spruce you up, change your look, or just keep you in ship-shape while you cruise through the ocean. Hair, nails and general styling are all offered at the beauty salon in the Ocean Spa.
A large and well-lit fitness center is located at the front of the Europa.
A multi-tiered, wood floored fitness center has all the cardio and free weight equipment you need to keep your regimen going. There are some nautilus machines and studio equipment available as well.
Two little shops will sell you some clothing or quaint vacation photos.
The Gift Shop
Hapag-Lloyd souvenirs are ready to be bought in the gift shop. There is quite a bit of country club clothing available here. You can buy some Europa appropriate clothing in case you forgot something, or if you could use an extra pair of trousers.
The Photo Shop
Located right in the main atrium, next to the gift shop, the photo shop lets you purchase photographs taken by professional photographers wandering the ship looking for those especially candid moments.
There is a small movie theater on the Europa.
The movie theater is small, but so is the ship. You shouldn't have to fight for space to watch some first run movies in this snug, quiet, dark little theater. They may be in German however, but the new bilingual focus should provide some translation.
Each bar has it's own recreational theme from night club dancing, to performance acts, cigar enjoyment, or an evening of engaged conversation.
You may find a gourmet food tasting at this cozy little lounge.
Great views of the ocean through floor to ceiling windows, and two little bars make up the everyday activity at this evening destination. There are however, more exciting intermittent activities, like a cabaret, a solo instrumentalist, or other acts.
Oh look! Just your average truffle tasting at the Clipper Lounge. Food is one of the many delightful extras to be found at this bar, check your itinerary for a host of activities, gastronomical and otherwise.
The Belvedere is the place to go for afternoon tea, and an evening tipple.
During the day, the bars are locked up, but tea is served. In the evening, Club Belvedere transforms into a lively club, with live music and encouraged dancing. For tea, the small tables are set with a full arrangement of silverware and plates. In the evening, the small tables work to support your cocktails and the seating is arranged conversationally.
At tea time, there are plenty of small delicacies arranged on a self-served bar, from tea sandwiches to rich pastries.
Tea is also set up on a buffet where you can help yourself to your own kettle and a variety of tea flavors.
The Belvedere is the place to go for afternoon tea, and an evening tipple.
The Europa Lounge is certainly versatile, hosting lectures and putting on shows of all kinds. Here is where you can catch the Stella Maris International Vocal Competition, a once-per-year, internationally recognized singing competition that can only be seen on the Europa. Seating is arranged facing the stage such that it is easy to get in and out of your seats to get to the bar for another drink.
This bar and lounge serves as the main stage for the MS Europa.
Tobacco brown leather chairs and mahogany stained wood line the inside of the Havana Bar. There is a humidor with cigars on sale from all over the world. If you are an American, you can probably pick up a couple of Cubans here. At the very least you can buy a cigar from there.
Come here to grab a cigar in a classically refined setting.
Right in the main lobby, cut out of one of the walls, are a few tables and chairs around a small bar labeled the Piano Bar. There is a baby grand there, often manned by a pianist playing to the whole lobby. A nice little place to stop for a cocktail on a ship wide journey.
This top deck lounge and nightclub can be super airy.
One of the glass walls at Sansibar opens up to the outside on fair weather days to make this an almost outside lounging experience. At night, the lights are turned down low and dancing until the early morning at the top of the ship is expected.
The is the most luxurious ship on the sea as of this review. The long list of amenities, the world-class entertainment, the highest passenger-to-space ratio, and the most spacious rooms make a voyage on the Europa well worth your investment. But an investment it surely is. There is no budget way to hop aboard this luxury liner.
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